The last play of the Raiders
game, played on Sept. 21, 1978. Known as the Immaculate Deception by San Diego
With the Raiders down 20-14, quarterback Ken Stabler marched the team down to the Charger 14 with just 10 seconds left. On what was to be the final play of the game, Stabler rolled right, but was met almost immediately by defensive end Fred Dean. Knowing that a sack would end the game, Stabler rolled the ball towards the end zone.
As Chargers and Raiders started falling all over themselves trying to corral the loose ball, fullback Pete Banaszak batted the ball forward in the direction of tight end Dave Casper. Casper kicked it into the end zone and then fell on it for a touchdown with no time remaining.
The Chargers went ballistic, arguing unsuccessfully that Stabler's fumble should have been ruled intentional grounding, and that Casper had kicked it on purpose. The play was allowed to stand, however, and the Raiders kicked the extra point for a 21-20 victory.
The San Diego Chicken fainted. John Madden was beside himself. Dan Fouts claimed that his team "got raped." The stupified announcer could only muster up these words:
"Madden is on the field! He wants to know if it's real! They say, 'Yes, it is! Get your big butt outta here!' A man would be a fool to write a story like this and expect you to believe it! This one will go down in history!"
The play resulted in a change to the NFL rulebook: On fourth down, or on any down inside the last two minutes of either half, only the fumbling player can recover the ball for a gain. If anyone else on the fumbling team recovers, the ball is returned to the spot of the fumble.